"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

separated at birth?

As many of you may know, I have a soft spot in my heart for muttigree dogs. So soft in fact, that their mopey little faces are the reason we have two of the little monsters living in our tiny apartment right now.

Ellen DeGeneres evidently shares this affinity for the cold nose and warm heart of a pound puppy. If you've turned on the TV in the past two weeks you've seen the story of Ellen and her debacle with the Mutts and Moms organization about the adoption (and consequent re-gifting) of Iggy, a 4-month-old Brussels Griffon mix (who, by the way, is housetrained). Ellen's tear-stained on-air apology is now a YouTube classic, and Iggygate is all over the news. I actually found her to be sincere, contrary to so many who labeled her October 17 cry-fest no more than a pathetic display of crocodile tears. Who are we to judge someone's sincerity? I may not have reacted in the same way, but that doesn't mean her reaction was anything less than genuine. But I digress...

As with most news involving celebrities, the story hit every to-the-minute website, maintained status for several days and cooled down a bit. I had actually gotten over it. I knew with all the rigamarole surrounding the situation, whomever ended up with custody of the pup would bend over backwards to provide him with a great home. But, I headed to the grocery store yesterday and came across People magazine. I immediately snatched a copy, and this is why...

Could it be that Iggy (R) is Olive's brotha from anotha motha? I showed the picture to her last night, and she exhibited no signs of surfacing separation anxiety. Perhaps she was trying to hide her sadness at the thought of her brother being exploited. And then she stole Charlie's toy in an effort to take her mind off her long-lost's plight.

On another note (but in continuance with the canine theme), Happy Halloween to you all!

Monday, October 29, 2007

i heart wes carroll

And, we've found ourselves a quarterback! True freshman Wes Carroll, with wisdom and poise beyond his years, directed the Dawgs to a convincing win Saturday over then-ranked No. 14 Kentucky. And with Christian Ducre and Anthony Dixon, State kept complete control of the game and helped dash Andre Woodson's Heisman hopes. No one can say Kentucky just "slipped up" - they just lost (so did the Rebs).

I'd be lying if I told you I thought for sure we'd beat the Wildcats, but that doesn't make me any less excited. Perhaps more so, in fact. This weekend's check in the "W" column puts the Bulldogs one away from the golden number 6, making the turnaround team BCS bowl-eligible, a sporty status symbol that has eluded State for years. How many? Don't know, don't care, doesn't matter. What's past has passed; it's 2007 now.

Hey fair-weather fans, it's time to bring back out your maroon. It may be stuck behind some LSU or Florida gear in the back of your closet. Dust it off and don it in two weeks for the Alabama game. And for those of us that never took ours off, we'll be there with (cow)bells on.

mind games II

Due to the abounding (2 people counts as abounding, right?) success of last week’s Genius Challenge from mentalfloss.com, I’ve posted this week’s teaser. Instead of state conundrums, this trial revolves around names of countries. A little difficult, but they don’t call it the Genius Challenge for nothin’.

Like last week, I’ll start you off with the answer to number 1. Ok, “No one wins or loses”…Thailand! Get it? Tie-land?

1. No one wins or loses?
2. Sick of ladies’ undergarments?
3. Where the dead live?
4. Land of carry-outs?
5. Where you can hold your head up?
6. It’s not easy being here?
7. It’s the word?
8. “e,” but without the “L”?
9. Home of Alfalfa?
10. Al’s not Down Under?
11. A great place to hang?
12. With or without the Sun God?
13. We are the Third Power?
14. Three Strikes?
15. Sheep, laughs, and mothers?

I’ll post the answers on Friday again – another reason to look forward to the end of the week. I hope the suspense doesn’t do you all in.

Oh, and by the way, I promise this won’t be the only thing I ever post.

Friday, October 26, 2007

your brain can rest now...

The wait is over. Here are the answers for Wednesday’s mentalfloss.com Genius Challenge. If only I could take credit for crafting this brilliant diversion (Ms. Melita, I’m impressed - 8 out of 12 ain’t bad! I certainly never got that far!). I’ll keep an eye on the website for future challenges and post them when they pop up.

1) lbs. of laundry? Washington
2) pirate of know return? Arkansas (Arrr! said the pirate + band Kansas who recorded “Point of Know Return”)
3) Ritter’s posterior? Texas (Tex Ritter’s posterior would be his… well, you know.)
4) OILLIS? Illinois (ILL inside the letters OIS)
5) no more mining? Oregon (no more mining if all the ore is gon)
6) Harry, for 3/4 yr. Indiana (yep, Prince Harry was in Diana for nine months)
7) graphite in the blood? Pennsylvania (graphite pencil, in your blood or vein-ya)
8) dirty player’s need? New Jersey (a dirty player would need a new jersey)
9) Flash’s plea? Wyoming (Flash Gordon might plea Why, O Ming?)
10) put to bed by Barb’s beau? Kentucky (Barbie’s Ken + putting you to bed, tucky)
11) remember it? Maine (Remember… the Alamo? No, the Maine)
12) a shade about nothing? Colorado (shade = color, plus Much Ado About Nothing)

And there you have it. Thanks to everyone who played!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

mind games

Is there a great mind in our midst? Below is a Genius Challenge from a website I love: mentalfloss.com. The premise is simple – guess to which state each clue refers. For example, the first one, “lbs. of laundry” would be Washington – as in “washing” a “ton.” Get it?

1) lbs. of laundry?
2) Pirate of no return?
3) Ritter’s posterior?
5) No more mining?
6) Harry, for 3/4 year.
7) Graphite in blood.
8) Dirty player’s need?
9) Flash’s plea?
10) Put to bed by Barb’s beau?
11) Remember it?
12) A shade about nothing?

I’ll post the answers later. Let’s keep our minds sharp! No cheating! (Yaya, I expect great things from you.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

stand by your van

Family, friends and acquaintances alike frequently ask me, “So, what do you do?” (or some variation of the question). My answer time and time again is “tourism,” which just as often draws looks of confusion or the always-popular blank stare. Well, hopefully this post will clear up some of the cloudiness surrounding complete understanding of my non-traditional job while providing a bit of laughter at my most recent gaffe. Have a chuckle at my expense – compliments of yours truly.

Mississippi recently hosted a small group of journalists from Europe – Tom and Dave from England, Alastair from Scotland and Valerie from Ireland. Along with UK escorts Jennie and Heather, we embarked on a culinary journey like no other. Think of it as eating your way across the state or Feasting on Asphalt: Mississippi Edition, only minus Alton Brown. Our mission: to show the group what the Magnolia State is all about through music, culture and (last and most certainly not least) food. Our vehicle: an 11-passenger Dodge Van – a favorite of prisons and kidnappers across the world. Which, compared to my Honda Accord, might as well have been a Greyhound bus. And yes, I was driving.

Traveling with members of the media is an experience like no other. They are more well-traveled than I could ever hope to be, have impeccable grammar and no matter how much you think you know, they can weave an intricate question that will stump you any day of the week and twice on Sundays. So, needless to say, my personal goal was to make the best impression possible and just not screw up.

Our tour started out perfectly. So perfectly in fact, that I began to convince myself that I was quite possibly the best tour guide the state of Mississippi has ever had. We ate like kings and queens and learned something new at every stop. Our schedule was a little off, but an escort of my caliber had no need to fear. Everyone is getting along great, and we're really having a good time together. I’m whipping in and out of parking places and teeny spaces, all while reading directions and navigating the Dodge like a pro. We make a stop at Dockery Plantation, located on a gravel road between Ruleville and Cleveland – a historic cotton farm in essentially the middle of nowhere. The weather is great. I’ve got my A game. I am unstoppable. Until I put the van in reverse.

I don’t remember what I was talking about or if I was even talking. I do remember making a mental note of the nearby church parking lot – the perfect spot for a 3-point turnabout. What I clearly did not take note of was the ditch that separated the beaten path from said parking lot. I’m trying desperately to come up with a way to write the sound the van made when it plummeted to the bottom of the ditch, but nothing comes to mind. Just trust me; it was horrific. I try putting the van in drive, and the only result I get is the sight of airborne gravel and the smell of burned rubber. We all hop out of the van to survey the situation. Oh, and by the way, another thing about traveling with journalists: they take pictures of EVERYTHING.

Thoughts of my touring expertise disappear along with any hope of driving out of the ditch, and I keep a prayer for a miracle in my mind on repeat. We try to push the van from the front. We try to push the van from the back, trying to keep ourselves from being pummeled by the tiny rocks. We try putting sticks in front of the wheel; we try putting sticks behind the wheel. Absolutely nothing works, and I begin to think I’ll be staying behind, mortified, while the rest of my group enjoys their afternoon in Cleveland. Car after car drives by us. I resign to the idea of hanging out alone…in the heat…in the middle of nowhere.

I’ve heard people say, “God works in mysterious ways.” I’ve even said it myself many times about many situations. But, I have to say, I can’t recall a personal incident that illustrated this truth more than what happened that afternoon.

I never even saw the truck that saved the day pull into the parking lot. A gentleman rolled down the driver’s side window and politely informed me that he would pull the van out from the back. Without a word spoken, they removed a huge chain from their tool box, hooked it to the front of their truck and to the back of the van, threw the truck in reverse and pulled the van out in a matter of seconds. I stood there, in complete shock but completely cognizant that these men were angels unaware. And the tag on the front of their truck read, “We believe in miracles.”

After the infamous van incident, I figured I could handle anything on this journey. Not that I “handled” the incident at all, but I understood that things could only go up. Even when Heather’s rental van was totaled by a Clarksdale local, we survived. I dropped my new friends off at the Memphis airport and breathed a sigh of relief. Not because they were on their way home, but because anything embarrassing that happened to me from that point on would just happen to me.

So, that’s my job in a nutshell. Any questions?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

these are a few of my (new) favorite things...

Lots of different things inspire one to compose a post. Becoming blogworthy can be the result of much thought and introspection or a flash of inspiration that must be immediately immortalized on the information superhighway. Either way, here are some new warm fuzzies of mine:

1) Nutella - an Italian hazlenut and chocolate spread. I'd seen it for quite a while in the grocery store, but since it lived next to the notoriously sickening Australian Vegemite, I just assumed it was just as vile. However, an episode of Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis changed my mind. If it's good enough for Giada, it's good enough for me (yaya and Feather, I think she looks like Kristen Fyke). My friend and fellow Giada girl-crusher Mary-Kathryn also sang the praises of this sweet treat. I finally broke down and purchased some today, and it is life-changing - heavenly and sinful at the same time. It's essentially the filling of a Rocher chocolate in a jar.

2) And the winner of the Make Ice Cream a Legitimate Breakfast Option is...Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Bun ice cream. I am no stranger to B&J's as I've been a huge fan of the Phish Food flavor for years. But a desperate attempt to avoid County Line Road last night led to cruising the frozen treats aisle at, you guessed it, the grocery store again. I'm beginning to see a pattern here... Anywho, as strange as it may sound, it's simply delightful.

3) This last one is fat free, no cals and 0 Points - my new cell phone. Many of you are aware that my last one went AWOL in the Detroit airport while I was slowly but surely making my way home from a trip overseas. After a couple of days without it, I decided to take the plunge and get a cool phone - I even clearly told the sales guy that I wanted a cool phone, and nothing Zach Morris-style would do. So, I now have a Motorola SLVR, and I have to admit, I think I am cooler. I'll really be unstoppable once text messaging comes into the picture.
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